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Jessica H. Davies
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The mistress of Langley Castle is dead. Lysette Percell is the prime suspect, according to Inspector Insly. Lysette rebels against the pompous inspectorâ€™s interrogative manner, which only makes him push harder. Can Lysette discover the truth before falling victim to another accidentâ€¦another accident that may prove her last?
Lysette Percell paced along the ancient corridor for the third time, propping one small hand on her broad hip while the other clenched the flickering candle. Glancing to the Persian rug, she shook her head and laughed. That expensive rug had been trampled upon by her bare feet for some months. She rubbed her rough hands--drafts blew up and down the hall like wind through the moors of Yorkshire.
Lysette looked at the portrait of Sir Thomas DeLucy. She lifted the wavering wick, letting the glow slide upward to the blue eyes hiding under bushy gray brows. The gloss from the oil painting almost made Sir DeLucyâ€™s cobalt eyes appear lifelike as they shone down on her five-foot-four height.
Lysette boasted of learning all about Langley Castleâ€™s history. Even though she wasnâ€™t related, she felt a deep bond with her adopted home. The first Lord of Langley would have been proud of her interest in, and knowledge of, the castle. The valiant knight, one of King Edward IIIâ€™s most trusted captains, built the magnificent fortress in 1350, not finishing the work until 1365. His castle was the fortified defense he intended it to be because it still stood as strong as it had in the Middle Ages.
Lysette winked at the formidable knight, then crept along the dim hall to Mrs. Langleyâ€™s sick chamber, as she often did when slumber refused to settle on her. The flickering candle sent her shadow slithering across the uneven stone as she turned the corner.
The crystal knob gave way without a squeak. Her drawn lips ushered a sigh of relief. A large wooden angel next to the vaulted window appeared lifelike as shadows cast moving glimmers about it. Light filtered through the latticed window, shining on Mrs. Langleyâ€™s form, which was dwarfed by the massive walnut four-poster bed. Large, lacy pillows and a thick silk comforter enveloped the old woman. The heavenly sight frightened Lysette. She hurried to the bed, leaned over, took the compact gold mirror from the nightstand, and placed it under the hawk-shaped nose of the mistress of the castle. The mirror fogged.
"Thank God for that,â€ she cried aloud.
Mrs. Langleyâ€™s face didnâ€™t reveal her age. Wealth kept the features well preserved by honey, aloe, and chamomile lotions. Lysetteâ€™s callused fingers traced the creamy texture of the womanâ€™s skin. A feeling of melancholy rushed through her. For the past year, this woman had replaced the mother she lost when she was but a child. Mrs. Langley chose Lysette to be her personal confidant.
Suddenly, the deathly looking form sat up as straight as a poker. Lysetteâ€™s arm suffered from a compression borne of Hercules. Mrs. Langleyâ€™s crinkled lips began to move.
"Close the door, Lysette!â€ Mrs. Langley demanded.
Lysette jumped up, her head escaping the canopy post by mere inches. Her heart throbbed with the speed of a rabbit. Mrs. Langleyâ€™s form wavered. Her shaking body managed to find repose on a nearby damask chair.
"I am sorry, my child. I didnâ€™t mean to frighten you. You know I am a light sleeper,â€ said Mrs. Langley. "Most of the time, my confounded coughing keeps me awake. I knew you would come. Close the door--be quick and do as I say child.â€
Lysette rose from her seat, her rose-colored robe tightly gripped in her hand so she didnâ€™t trip, and peered outside. The gleam from the end of the hall reflected the moon, but no living soul lingered in its bountiful light. When she turned back into the room, she noticed a candle glowing beside Mrs. Langley. Fearsome shadows became harmless objects. She returned to the bedside chair, taking care to tiptoe across the oak floorboards.
"What is it, Mrs. Langley?â€
Mrs. Langleyâ€™s black eyes darted about as her hands grasped the thick, silk quilt.
"Child... I have done you a terrible injustice--a dreadful wrong!â€
"Please, Mrs. Langley, you have only been kind to me. Calm yourself and talk no more,â€ Lysette urged, handing her a small glass of water.
Jessica H. Davies is an author, freelance writer, copywriter and editor. She is a regular contributor for willwrite4food, Christian Paradise Magazine, Bridges Magazine and a member of ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers), and HRW (Historical Romance Writers). A passion for history, especially Revolutionary War, led her to DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). Jessica is an editor for the new e-zine, Romancing the Christian Heart, a home for veteran and beginning Inspirational Romance Writers, with a focus on short stories and new writers.
Fading Crimson, by Jessica H. Davies, has a story line that grabbed this reader's interest and kept me reading on, chapter after chapter. Ms. Davies' ability with descriptions made me feel as if I was in the castle with the characters, feeling the cold winter winds, hearing them shriek at the windows. The chemistry between the hero and heroine is intense, and a big part of what drew me in as a reader. Add to that a strong-willed heroine with an even stronger faith in Jesus Christ, and you have the makings of a great inspirational romantic suspense. If you like gothic-type mysteries, and a good romantic read, you'll be sure to enjoy Fading Crimson. , Lianne Bruynell Lopes, Author, Shadow of the Wolf, Treble Heart Books Inspirational Historical Award, American Christian Romance Writers e-Book of the Year Award.
FADING CRIMSON is a wonderful historical novel that shows the reader the lives of the wealthy through the eyes of the poor. Lysette tells the story, leaving the reader wondering how a family could be so unhappy and selfish when they seemed to have everything they could need. Lysetteâ€™s trust in God will bring a smile to the readerâ€™s face when she attempts to convert the family that hates her. In her debut novel, Jessica H. Davies has created a heroine that could not be more loving and honest.
The secrets and skeletons in the Langley familyâ€™s closet make for a wonderful tale of suspense. As this family is exposed for their true sins, Lysette stands in stark contrast as an honest loving woman. Willing to forgive her family for hiding the truth and killing her mother, she makes the story come to life with her innocence and love for God. -- Angie Dobson, Love Romances Reviewer
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 202
Paper Weight (lb): 8.8
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